The Clinical Neuropsychology and Applied Neuroscience research line is focused on the study of the neural mechanisms underlying different pathologies that present an abnormal or altered brain functioning. We also focus on the use of non invasive brain stimulation techniques as a therapeutic approach to improve, stimulate and rehabilitate cognitive functions in neurodegenerative disease (mainly Alzheimer’s disease) and in acquired brain injury (traumatic brain injury and stroke).
The Cognitive NeuroLab is currently conducting four projects within this research line:
1. Transcranial magnetic stimulation intervention in Alzheimer’s disease
A double blind randomized controlled trial has been designed to assess the effects of 2-week TMS intervention (iTBS protocolo) to improve Alzheimer’s disease symptoms in the short, medium and long term. Stimulation will be delivered over the dorslolateral prefrontal cortex and the parietal cortex in both hemispheres. The specific target areas for stimulation will be determined individually based on the individual functional connectivity of each area with two subcortical regions related to AD cognitive dysfunction: the fornix and the hippocampus respectively. The aim of the study is to quantify improvements in cognitive, functional, and emotional deficits in Alzheimer patients, as well as the functional connectivity changes induced by the TMS treatment. The trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier NCT03121066 and the protocol is prospectively published.
2. Stimulation and rehabilitation of cognitive, emotional and behavioral deficits in acquired brain injury
Non-invasive brain stimulation techniques have great potential as a new approach for the improvement of cognitive, emotional and behavioral deficits in patients who have suffered traumatic brain injury or stroke. We explore the therapeutic application of both transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in these pathologies with the ultimate goal of improving patients’ quality of life.
3. Use of non-invasive brain stimulation to improve the control of intake in patients with obesity
Application of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), as a tool for the modulation of altered neurocognitive patterns in patients with obesity. The main goal is to promote self-control, increase satiety and reduce intake, thus improving dietary adherence with the consequent weight loss and reduced weigh maintenance in the medium and long term.
4. Reduction of nicotine addiction through non-invasive brain stimulation techniques
Nicotine addiction is often characterized by dysfunctional cognitive control, an uncontrolled reward impulse and an altered decision-making process. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can be used to increase self-control in habitual tobacco users, reducing anxiety caused by abstinence and giving up nicotine consumption. This technique has already been successfully used to reduce craving and tobacco consumption, but the optimal parameters to implement it as a common treatment are yet to be established. Our main goal is to improve tDCS treatment parameters used to help smoking cessation.